By 1992, Johan Cruyff’s vision of attractive Football
was evident with the success of FC Barcelona featuring the likes of Stoichkov,
Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup, and a young Josip Guardiola.
The Dutch had qualified for the 1992 Euros that was to
serve as the swan song of veteran Dutch Manager Rinus Michels.
From: Het Nederlands Elftal, De Histoire van Oranje, 1905-1989, Author Matty Verkamman
Michels lifting the European Championship trophy, June 25, 1988, European
Championships, Holland 2-USSR 0)
The 1994 USA World Cup was on the horizon and with the
qualifiers in the Fall, a new National Team Manager was required. Naturally,
the Dutch Federation (and the Public) clamored for the man who had transformed
Barcelona into one of Europe’s best. This team would shortly (in May 1992) win
its very first Champions Cup. This Barcelona Generation would be dubbed the
‘Dream Team’ and the example to follow for future Barça
While naturally everyone wanted Cruyff, he himself was
less enthused. The life of an International Manager with 8-10 matches a year
and seeing the players perhaps once a month was limiting to him. He preferred
the daily grind of club Football where he felt he could achieve more working
The Dutch Federation were so desperate to have Cruyff
that they produced a compromise. Dick Advocaat, at the time Michels’ Assistant,
would be in charge through the qualifiers. Following qualification, he would
stand aside as Cruyff would take over at the World Cup Finals.
Photo From: Onze-Mondial,
Issue 41, June 1992
Photo From: World Soccer,
It would be unimaginable for any Manager to accept
such a condition, but we must remember at that time Advocaat was unknown and
did not have the same credit that he would gain as a top-level Manager at home
and abroad into the next decades.
Advocaat accepted the task and faced difficulties: the
surprising challenge of Group winners Norway, Ruud Gullit’s on-again/off-again
National Team retirements and Marco Van Basten’s injury that would force his
retirement in a couple of years.
He did complete his task and did qualify the Dutch to the
American World Cup on November 1993.
However, on the eve of the World Cup Draw on December
18th, 1993, the Dutch Federation announced that talks with Cruyff
had broken down. They had tried to contact him for days, but their fax and
phone contacts had gone unanswered.
Photo From: World Soccer,
The Federation announced that Advocaat would continue
as Full-time Manager into the World Cup with a new four contract. Advocaat
accepted after discussion with senior players.
A reason for the parting of the ways concerned Cruyff’s
salary and kit for the World Cup. Cruyff ran a clothing line and he wanted to
wear his own tracksuits and naturally the Federation was opposed, given their
existing contract with Adidas.
Photo From: Onze-Mondial,
Issue 71, December 1994
The Dutch would travel to the World Cup with Advocaat
in charge and would acquit themselves well by reaching the Quarterfinals and
losing to eventual winners Brazil (2-3) in an exciting match.
Shortly after the World Cup Cruyff broke his silence
on the reasons. He downplayed the financial aspect of the dispute. He said the
discrepancy was over $40,000, which was a small amount, since the Dutch reached
the Quarterfinals and made a profit of $1 Million dollars for the Federation
Photo From: Onze-Mondial,
Issue 66, July 1994
(July 9, 1994, World Cup,
Brazil 3-Holland 2)
He also said that the KNVB had told him about half the
personnel of the National Team would change following qualification, yet he saw
the same players that were to leave at the World Cup.
This reason does not seem valid, because as the
Manager in charge, he would have picked the players he would have desired.
He was also dismissive of the Dutch Team’s attitude.
He felt they behaved like a friendly team who were simply happy to participate
and leave with an acceptable loss. According to him, he would have created a
more competitive atmosphere.
Difficult to tell if
Holland would have performed better with Cruyff in charge. Perhaps, Ruud Gullit
would not have left the squad just before the Finals. His presence and Cruyff’s
pressure and undoubtedly different tactics might have been more effective (or
However, this incident was yet another example
consistent with the narrative that the Dutch create their own problems ahead of
World Cups and it would not be the last……
Soccernostalgia Question:What was the state of Czechoslovakian Football in
the Fall of 1988?
Mr. Joachim Aasan @1990qual response: With the highly
acclaimed 1988 European Championships already history, albeit a recent one, the
international footballing agenda was about to embark on the qualification for
the 1990 World Cup. Czechoslovakia had failed to qualify for a major
international tournament since their participation at the 1982 World Cup, when
they had bowed out at the first group stage, managing two draws only, against
WC debutants Kuwait and later, more respectably, France. Since the 1982 World
Cup, Czechoslovakia towards the end of the European summer six years later had
no remaining names from the 22 who had travelled to Spain. They had also since
gone through four national team managers, with the latest being legendary
former player Josef Masopust. Returning, as he had indeed been in charge of
their 1982 troops, to the position was 52 year old Jozef Vengloš. He had a
doctorate in physical education earned in Bratislava as far back as in 1955. At
club level, no team from the domestic league had ventured beyond the
quarter-finals stage in either of the three European competitions, and even
that stage had only been reached twice over the course of the past five
seasons. Czechoslovakia were turning into something of a European footballing
mediocrity. Back at national team level, a humiliating 3-0 loss in Finland in
the qualification for the 1988 Euro would have strongly limited any optimism
they still harboured at that time for reaching the competition proper in West
Germany. Denmark ultimately qualified at Czechoslovakia's expense. So, against
this backdrop, Vengloš had needed to assemble a squad strong enough to
challenge in a tough-looking qualification group for Italia '90, where they'd
come up against Belgium, Portugal, and Switzerland, with Luxembourg providing
the cannon fodder. Still, with two World Cup berths up for grabs, they must
have considered themselves as likely candidates for participation, despite
their third-rank status.
Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 15, April 1990
(Jozef Venglos and Vaclav Jezek)
Soccernostalgia Question:The last time Czechoslovakia had been in the World
Cup had been in 1982 with Jozef Venglos as Manager. He was re-appointed in 1988
for the 1990 World Cup qualifiers. What were the expectations in a Group with
Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland and Luxembourg?
Mr. Joachim Aasan @1990qual response: While I carefully
touched on this already in reply to the previous question, I think
Czechoslovakia would've felt that they were in with a shout, although they had
been drawn from pot 3, behind first seeds Belgium and second seeds Portugal.
While the Belgians under legendary manager Guy Thys remained favourites in what
was still a fairly open group, Vengloš must have felt that they could give
Portugal a run for their money with regards to finishing runners-up. Certainly,
at home, whether it be in Bratislava or in Prague, Czechoslovakia would be a
match for any opponent. It should also be pointed out that Vengloš was working
with Václav Ježek, a well-respected 64 year old coach who had indeed been in
charge of the national team during their magnificent triumph in the 1976
European Championships. For this, Ježek would later win the vote, in regards to
the country's greatest manager in the 20th century. He'd won domestic
championships with Sparta, and he'd worked abroad both in the Netherlands and,
most recently, in Switzerland.
Soccernostalgia Question:His job was made harder even before the qualifiers
when on July 1988, vital National team elements: Lubos Kubik and Ivo Knofilcek
defected to the West during their club, Slavia Prague’s tour of West Germany.
Describe the players’ status and its implication on the National Team?
Mr. Joachim Aasan @1990qual response: Czechoslovakia in
this era had a number of good footballers. Still, in order to stand a fair
chance of actually qualifying for the World Cup, Mr Vengloš would need to have
available to him every talented player within the country's realm. Slavia
Prague had been preparing for the upcoming domestic season in West Germany in
the summer of '88, and both Knoflíček and Kubík had opted to try their luck in
the West through defecting. They had both featured for Czechoslovakia in their
impressive 1-0 friendly win in Copenhagen on June 1, as the Danish had been in
preparation for the upcoming European Championships, with Kubík even netting
the solitary goal. They were already among the more senior members of the
Czechoslovakian team, as the 24 year old Kubík, a stylish midfield playmaker
with a gifted left foot, earned his 19th cap in Denmark, and forward Knoflíček,
26 years of age, was winning his 26th. In losing them both for the entire
qualification campaign, as they'd both be expelled from the national team for a
year and a half, Vengloš would need to rethink. It is also worth noting how Czechoslovakia
through 1988 only ever had those two representatives from Slavia Prague, with
city rivals Sparta the chief supplier for the national team with no less than
nine players turning out at country level during the course of the calendar
year. Sparta had just won the league for the second campaign running. They'd go
on and claim the next three Czechoslovakian first league titles, too.
Photo From: WC 90 - CORRIERE DELLO SPORT – GUIDA
Soccernostalgia Question:Can you summarize Czechoslovakia’s qualification
process for the 1988/89 season?
Mr. Joachim Aasan @1990qual response: I will try!
Czechoslovakia got their campaign off the mark with an expected two points from
their journey to Luxembourg, although the win might perhaps have been less
impressive than they'd been hoping for, given the fact that the Swiss had
already visited the same venue and won even more comprehensively (4-1). Their
goals had come from midfield schemer Ivan Hašek and libero and team captain
Jozef Chovanec. In a group totalling 20 fixtures, eight per team,
Czechoslovakia would only play twice in the autumn of '88, with their next
match being group favourites Belgium on home soil in Bratislava. Despite
pinning their opponents back for large chunks of the game, the Czechoslovaks
could not find a way past the impressive Preud'homme, and the game finished
goalless in front of nearly 50 000 people in Bratislava. Still, by the turn of
the calendar year, Vengloš' team found themselves atop the qualification table,
with their next fixture the return leg in Belgium at the end of April. By that
point, the Belgians had claimed another vital away point through levelling late
in Portugal, while the Portuguese themselves had picked up a total of five
points from three home ties, having defeated both Luxembourg and Switzerland in
the process. This had left Czechoslovakia trailing both the Belgians and the
Portuguese, so they'd have been looking to get something out of the game in
Brussels. However, on the day, the Red Devils put them to the sword and won by
2-1, despite Czechoslovakia putting up a fine battle and only losing to a late
Degryse strike. They also saw the return to national team action of defenders
Straka and Kocian, who were by now plying their trade in the West German
Bundesliga. A routine 4-0 home win over Luxembourg saw Czechoslovakia's
qualification campaign back on the rails, and a 1-0 away win in Switzerland
courtesy of Skuhravý's third goal in two matches saw them secure a third win in
five. This meant that by the summer of 1989 they were well positioned only a
point behind the Belgians, although Portugal, who had yet to play away, were
just two points in their wake, with a match to spare. The crunch game came on
Oct 6, with Portugal the visitors in Prague. They had completed their first two
away ties of the qualification in losing comprehensively in Belgium and then
vitally winning in Switzerland, so that prior to kick-off, they were both on
seven points from five matches. Despite losing striker Griga to an early red
card before 20 minutes of action, the hosts claimed a hugely important win by
the margin of 2-1. Both goals had come courtesy of shrewd midfield man Bílek. A
fourth straight qualification win subsequently followed as Switzerland were
sent packing after 3-0 in Prague. Significantly, this meant Czechoslovakia were
two points ahead of Portugal and with a handsome seven goals cushion before
both countries' final qualifier: their head to head in Lisbon. Portugal were
never going to win by the four goals demanded of them to pip the
Czechoslovakians, and despite the hosts doing what they could to try and
achieve that win, Stejskal's inspired performance between the sticks ultimately
saw to that Czechoslovakia could return home with a scoreless draw. The point
meant they were qualified for Italia '90, and only second to group winners
Belgium on goals scored. It had ultimately been a very fine qualification
campaign by Vengloš' squad.
Soccernostalgia Question:Czechoslovakia’s sweeper Jozef Chovanec became the
first Czechoslovakian player under the age of 30 to transfer to a European side
when he joined PSV Eindhoven in November 1988 (as a future replacement for
Ronald Koeman). How was this transfer regarded at the time?
Mr. Joachim Aasan @1990qual response: I believe Chovanec,
28 at the time, didn't transfer to PSV until the turn of the year, as he still
featured for Sparta domestically in December '88. He'd then make his debut in
the Dutch league in February '89, playing alongside such greats of the game as
Gerets, Vanenburg, (Ronald) Koeman and not least Romário. Any Eastern European
player to make the move from behind the Iron Curtain and on to the Western
European scene naturally raised some debate. Chovanec was a key man for club
and country alike, and was among Vengloš' most trusted players, typically being
used in the libero position. Furthermore, he was also the captain of his
country, a distinction he must have held with great pride. Fellow international
defenders Kocian and Straka had earlier completed their moves to West German
football, so a pattern was beginning to emerge. It had only seemed reasonable
that players of this calibre would move abroad once they were allowed to by the
age of 28.
Photo From: Soccer International, Issue 4, April 1990
Soccernostalgia Question:He struggled at the club and eventually drifted
into midfield and Venglos chose to place him in midfield as well. Explain this
Mr. Joachim Aasan @1990qual response: Chovanec obviously
arrived at a club which were reigning Dutch and European champions, so it was
never going to be a foregone conclusion that he'd become a regular starter
right away. Like any player moving from one country to another, he'd need time
to adapt, both to his new surroundings and to the way PSV boss Guus Hiddink
wanted him to contribute. The PSV libero role belonged to a player of Ronald
Koeman's calibre, so it went without saying that Chovanec's opportunity to
stake a claim for a starting berth likely lay elsewhere. He was an accomplished
player on the ball, and he had fine physical attributes, and so was an adept
man in the centre of the pitch. With Kocian back in the mix internationally,
the now St. Pauli defender would look to occupy the national team's libero
position, although for the couple of fixtures against Belgium (away) and
Luxembourg (home), it had indeed been Chovanec who had got the nod for the
spare man at the back job, with Kocian in the holding midfield role. They would
swap roles for the remainder of the qualification, with Chovanec probably
offering more quality in possession than Kocian was capable of.
Soccernostalgia Question:After his transfer Venglos took away the captaincy
from Chovanec and made Ivan Hasek his new captain. Venglos explained that he
wanted a home-based player to be the Captain. What do you think of this
Mr. Joachim Aasan @1990qual response: The manager's
decision probably rested mainly on the fact that it was far easier for him to
maintain a close connection with Hašek than with Chovanec after the latter's
switch abroad. The highly energetic Hašek remained a key player for club and
country alike, while as we've already touched on, Chovanec would need some time
in order to properly get going at his new club. Stripping the now Netherlands
based player of the captaincy could surely not be seen as any form of
punishment, nor should it be viewed as particularly dramatic. Chovanec would
still remain key to Vengloš.
Soccernostalgia Question:Getting back to the two defectors, Lubos Kubik
returned to Czechoslovakia and joined Italian side Fiorentina in the summer of
1989. Ivo Knofilcek would have to wait until December 1989 before joining West
German side St. Pauli (18 months of inactivity). How is their action looked
Mr. Joachim Aasan @1990qual response: First of all: Their
story is a remarkable one. It had been Knoflíček's idea originally to defect,
and as he was sharing room with Kubík on Slavia Prague's 1988 summer camp in
Hannover, West Germany, he persuaded his team mate to join him. It had been
Derby County in England who had wanted Knoflíček, much on the back of his two
excellent goals for Czechoslovakia against Wales in qualification for the 1988
Euro. Their owner, famous media mogul Robert Maxwell, was himself of
Czechoslovak origin, and had been the instigator behind the move. However, in
defecting, Knoflíček and Kubík were given 18 months long bans by the football
federation, and since they were without official documents, there was no way
they were going to enter the UK. They spent half a year at Maxwell's holiday
residence in Spain until they obtained Bolivian (!) passports, which would
eventually allow them entry into the United Kingdom. Still, once there all they
could do was train, and the situation was obviously a tricky one for all
parties. While Kubík would return back home to Czechoslovakia for a while,
Knoflíček opted to try his luck in Italy, where he had what he thought would be
a stop-over with Foggia prior to a move to Juventus. However, whilst there, he
was contacted by Ján Kocian, a former team mate from the national side, who was
by that time playing for St. Pauli in the West German topflight. Knoflíček was
inspired by their conversations, and would travel to Hamburg, looking to
impress. He must have done so, as under coach Helmut Schulte he would make his
debut for the club in a 2-1 home win against Borussia Monchengladbach in
December. Matchwinner? Ivo Knoflíček. Kubík would end up at Fiorentina, where
he made his debut at the start of the 1989/90 season, as his ban had been
lifted by the FA once he'd returned to his home land. While all of this appears
surreal by today's standards, it was very much a fact for players from behind
the old Iron Curtain that they were only allowed to join clubs in the West
after fulfilling certain criteria, of which age was probably the main one. So
it is in this context that Knoflíček and Kubík must be
Soccernostalgia Question:The World Cup qualification coincided with the
Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. In fact, Ivan Hasek actually addressed a
crowd in November during the protests. Can you give more detail?
Mr. Joachim Aasan @1990qual response: What was unfolding
across Eastern Europe around this time was of such proportions, totally
unprecedented, and something which obviously was of huge historical
significance. The fall of communism and ultimately the break-up of the Soviet
Union would have implications also for football, as clubs in Eastern Europe
would no longer able to hold on to their major assets. In Czechoslovakia, their
'liberation' became known as the 'Velvet Revolution', and it took place in the
second half of November '89. In an interview made by French football magazine
'Onze mondial' with Sparta Prague and the national team's midfield man Michal
Bílek, the then 24 year old recollects the memorable days which would redefine
the entire Eastern Europe: "We were due to play Inter Bratislava in a
league match, and just prior to this students approached us and explained to us
what had happened in the protests the previous day, on Nov 17, which they had
organized. They asked for our support, which we did not hesitate in providing.
The Inter game was called off. Subsequently, we, the Sparta players, released a
press statement denouncing the abuse of the totalitarian government. On Nov 21
we joined the general strike. We marched from our stadium to downtown, flags in
hand. On Wenceslas Square, our captain Ivan Hašek harangued the extatic crowd,
and was received with a standing ovation. I will never forget this date, it was
wonderful, totally surreal. The revolution changed my life. That day I stopped
being just a footballer; I became a free man."
Following the end of the
1990 World Cup, it seemed like Diego Maradona had finished off with
International Football. In fact, any National Team comeback was not even in the
discussion as he received a Drugs ban in 1991 and suspended for more than a
In the meantime, new
National Team Manager Alfio Basile had built a team around the goalscoring
talents of Gabriel Batistuta and featuring the likes of Diego Simeone, Leonardo
Rodriguez, and Dario Franco, among others.
Captain Oscar Ruggeri (Captain
in Maradona’s absence) and Claudio Caniggia (prior to his own drugs ban in
1993) provided the experience in this young team.
Basile’s side, in
Maradona’s absence, had been so successful that they had won the 1991 and 1993
editions of Copa America and were on an undefeated run since the end of the
1990 World Cup.
Photo From: World
Soccer, July 1991
Following his suspension,
Maradona joined Spanish side Sevilla in 1992. He was recalled for two prestige
friendlies in early 1993. The Argentine Federation Centenary match vs. Brazil
and the Artemio Franchi Cup vs. European Champions Denmark.
A few months later,
Sevilla sacked Maradona after many breaches in discipline. At this point
Maradona seemed lost to Football.
Maradona was beset by personal
problems, disinterested by the game, and headed for retirement.
The National Team seemed
just fine without him as it started the 1994 World Cup qualifiers in the summer
and fall of 1993.
However, after nearly
three years of success, the first cracks would appear in Basile’s Argentina.
While Paraguay and Peru
were not obstacles in Argentina’s Group, Pacho Maturana’s Colombia were
Since 1987, this Colombia
Generation led by Carlos Valderrama had been improving year by year and had
qualified for the 1990 World Cup. By now they were further strengthened with
the new star of South American Football, Faustino Asprilla.
Argentina (2-1), thus ending Basile’s long unbeaten run. This was Argentina’s
first loss since the 1990 World Cup Final.
All was not lost, and
Argentina had to defeat Colombia at home on September 5th, 1993, to
qualify for the World Cup. Given Argentina’s form in the last couple of years
this was not beyond them, and everyone expected a win at home to establish the
natural order of things and book its place at the World Cup.
We all know what happened
next. The spectacle was all from the Colombian end as Argentina imploded and
Photo From: El
Grafico, Issue 3857, 1993
(September 5, 1993, World
Cup Qualifier, Argentina 0-Colombia 5)
Argentina still had one
more opportunity to qualify. They had to face the Oceania region winner,
Australia in a home and away play-off series.
The present squad was
more than capable of such a task, but panic had set in. There was now a clamor
for Diego Maradona’s recall to rescue his Nation.
In the meantime, he had
joined Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys to regain his fitness. Prior to the
first match vs. Australia, he had played a friendly and one League match.
On September 23rd,
1993, Basile in a radio program with Maradona, promised he would pick him vs.
Australia if he proved his fitness.
Maradona came back to
help his Nation, as a World Cup without Argentina was unthinkable.
Basile also made some
changes to the squad ahead of the matches vs. Australia. Ricardo Altamirano,
Leonardo Rodriguez, Gustavo Zapata, and Ramon Medina Bello were made to be
scapegoats and dropped.
Apart from Maradona,
Basile recalled Sergio Vazquez in defense and called up uncapped defensive pair
José Chamot and Carlos Mac Allister.
In midfield, the uncapped
Hugo Leonardo Perez was also called up, while upfront, Abel Balbo was recalled.
Basile maintained Sergio
Goycoechea in goal and Ruggeri, Redondo, Simeone and Batistuta (Though Ruggeri
and Simeone were absent in the first leg).
While facing Australia
seemed like a lifeline for the Argentines, this was not the Australia of the
By the 1990s, they had
many players plying their trade in Europe. These included Frank Farina, Ned
Zelic and Robbie Slater among others.
the first leg, this changed Argentina side traveled to Sydney to face the
Australians on October 31st, 1993.
Maradona and Balbo justified their recall, with the Roma striker heading in
Maradona’s cross for the opener.
would pull a goal back through Aurelio Vidmar just before halftime.
match ended as a (1-1) tie, with the advantage to the Argentines as the away
Photo From: World
Soccer, December 1993
(October 31, 1993, World
Cup Qualifier, Australia 1-Argentina 1)
Photo From: El Grafico,
Issue 3865, 1993
(October 31, 1993, World
Cup Qualifier, Australia 1-Argentina 1)
return leg was two weeks later at the ‘El Monumental’ on November 17th.
Oscar Ruggeri and Diego Simeone were back for Argentina (in place of Borelli
and Basualdo) with the rest of the team unchanged from the first leg.
defeated Australia (1-0) to book its ticket for USA. In the 58th
minute, Batistuta’s cross from a narrow angle was deflected into the net.
avoided the humiliation of non-qualification for a World Cup (for the first
time since 1970).
Photo From: Onze-Mondial,
Issue 65, June 1994
(November 17, 1993, World
Cup Qualifier, Australia 1-Argentina 1)
Photo From:Onze-Mondial, Issue 60, January 1994
(November 17, 1993, World
Cup Qualifier, Australia 1-Argentina 1)
was now part of the Team for the World Cup, along with Balbo. Claudio
Caniggia’s suspension was due to end just in time before the World Cup.
story would not have a happy ending as Maradona would once again be involved in
a Drugs scandal at the World Cup.
Basile would be on his way out in following the failure at the World Cup.
is open to conjecture whether Maradona would have even been called up without
the disaster vs. Colombia.
any case, this was an aged Maradona and not the player in the 80s.
Basile should have kept faith with the team he had built but was forced to
include Maradona after he had stepped up when needed.
the World Cup, Daniel Alberto Passarella was appointed as Manager and that is
I have asked Mr. Esteban
Bekerman, Argentinean Journalist, Football History researcher and Professor of
Football History, and Mr. Mark Boric,
AustralianCritic and Historian, to give their respective perspectives.
Mr. Esteban Bekerman is an Argentina Football Historian and
Journalist-Professor at the ‘Circulo de Periodistas Deportivas y en Taller de
Investigacion Historia sobre Futbol (Circle of Sports Journalists and
Historical Research workshop on Football’.
He is the founder of http://entretiempos.com.ar/ , center of Football Culture that includes production of
magazines, books, workshops, and consulting events.
Soccernostalgia Question:Did Alfio Basile himself want to
recall Maradona for the matches vs. Australia or was he forced? Was it more of
a public pressure or mostly from the press to recall Maradona?
Bekerman @egerbek Response: He wanted to call him, but also, he was in a way forced to
do it by the press and the public opinion.
Soccernostalgia Question:Did Maradona show any reticence
for a comeback or was he insistent?
Bekerman @egerbek Response: He didn't show reticence but also wasn't insistent. He
just put himself totally at disposal.
Soccernostalgia Question:Regarding the other newcomers
selected vs. Australia (Chamot, Perez, etc.). were they Basile’s choices or was
there some pressure from Maradona?
Bekerman @egerbek Response: All Basile's choices. No pressure from
Maradona at all.
Soccernostalgia Question:In between the matches, there was
a report that some of the players wanted Oscar Ruggeri to regain the captaincy.
Any truth about this?
Bekerman @egerbek Response: No, with Maradona on the squad it was clear he had to have
the captaincy again.
Soccernostalgia Question:Before the implosion vs.
Colombia, was there an indication that such a disaster was on the horizon or
was it a complete surprise?
Bekerman @egerbek Response: It was a surprise. No one could have imagined
such a catastrophe.
Soccernostalgia Question:Ahead of the matches vs. Australia,
was there confidence or was there some nervousness after what had happened vs.
Bekerman @egerbek Response: There was some nervousness for sure.
Soccernostalgia Question:In closing, given what would
happen with Maradona at the World Cup, do you think Basile would have been
better off to take the side he had built in the last few years without
Bekerman @egerbek Response:No, I think not. In fact, Leo Rodriguez (Maradona's natural
replacement and Basile's first choice before Diego's comeback) had a very poor
performance against Bulgaria. And in my opinion, he never had the quality for
being Argentina's number 10 in a World Cup. Ortega played well against Romania,
but he also couldn't make forgive Maradona by his own.
Soccernostalgia Question:What was the mood among
Australians ahead of these matches vs. Argentina?
Mr. Mark Boric @MarkBoric Response: Ahead of the games there was a mood of
excitement, tempered with some trepidation. Excitement because Australian
players were starting to make inroads in Europe and the Socceroos were on the
rise. It was a taste of the big time, it saw soccer reports jumping a few
places in the televsion evening news running order instead of a cursory mention
at the end of it. Facing a team which had won the World Cup less than a decade
prior, with one of the world's greatest ever players returning to it, was quite
the final hurdle though.
Soccernostalgia Question:Australia Manager Eddie Thomson
had to appeal for Mark Bosnich to end his International Retirement ahead of
these matches. Was there public clamor for his return?
Mr. Mark Boric @MarkBoric Response: Yes, Bosnich had already shown a superstar
quality which would have most placing him above Robert Zabica and Mark
Schwarzer at that stage.
there a feeling of unfairness as Australia had to continue with play-offs to
qualify for World Cups?
Mr. Mark Boric @MarkBoric Response: A little, but that probably increased more
the in the following World Cup qualification campaign. In 1993 the
"unfairness" was more a lament of "why did it have to be
Argentina?" Maybe because there was the feeling that Australia had let
itself down in the previous attempt in not reaching the Interncontinental
Play-Off, the inequity of the qualification process had yet to brought fully
there some excitement that Maradona would be in Australia?
Mr. Mark Boric @MarkBoric Response: Yes, it was enormous. He was a player who
even those that did not follow the game had heard of. He was a player fans
would stakeout airport and hotel arrivals at all hours to get a glimpse of.
this point there were a considerable number of Australian players in European
sides, was there a feeling this generation had a genuine chance to qualify?
Mr. Mark Boric @MarkBoric Response: Yes, it was considered possible without
having to be a version of "The Miracle on Ice". The game was gaining
momentum in Australia and there was positivity in anticipating the future.
Mitchell did not want to be involved in the second after not starting in the
first leg. Was his absence felt?
Mr. Mark Boric @MarkBoric Response: Probably not greatly. It was always going to
be a stiff task to hold Argentina at their home in the second leg and going
about that to remain in the tie for as long as possible would have been
foremost ahead of what the striking options were.
takeaways from these ties from an Australian perspective?
Mr. Mark Boric @MarkBoric Response: The qualification campaigns for the 1978,
1982 and 1990 World Cups were generally seen as failures by Australia to
perform to their best. With 1986 and 1994 the Socceroos played more to their
potential but faced opponents they were not expected to beat. After the games
against Argentina expectations were definitely growing.
Date: October 31, 1993
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifier-Playoff, First Leg
Result: Australia 1-Argentina 1
Venue:Sydney- Sydney Football Stadium
Referee:Sandor Puhl (Hungary)
Linesmen:Sandor Varga and Sandor Marton (both Hungary)
Summary of goals:
minute, Argentina): Maradona’s cross from the right side was
headed in by Balbo.
minute, Australia): From the middle, Zelic sent a pass to the
right side, Tony Vidmar’s cross from the right was knocked in by Aurelio
Bosnich (Aston Villa Football Club-Birmingham / England)
12-Milan Ivanovic (Adelaide
5-Alex Tobin (Adelaide
13-Mehmet Durakovic(South Melbourne)
19-Tony Vidmar (Adelaide
City) (7-David Mitchell (Millwall Football Club / England) 72)